Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic several years ago, there has been controversy over whether it was laboratory-made or a wildlife virus that had jumped to humans. According to a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and key members of Congress, the U.S. Energy Department has concluded that the Covid pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak.
The Energy Department now joins the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to say the virus likely spread via a mishap at a Chinese laboratory. The FBI previously concluded that the pandemic was likely the result of a lab leak in 2021 with “moderate confidence” and still holds to this view. Four other U.S. agencies and a national intelligence panel still judge that it was likely the result of a natural transmission, and two are undecided.
The Energy Department’s conclusion is the result of new intelligence. It is significant because the agency has considerable scientific expertise and oversees a network of U.S. national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research.